Through Illness and a Spider Bite, Leo Kept Fighting

In August of 2015, my 82-pound Doberman mix (Leo) was acting strange and had been pooping blood in our backyard. We took him into emergency at 5 a.m. and spent day at BluePearl running tests to find out what was going on. Leo’s blood platelet count was at zero, and he was diagnosed with Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) and prescribed steroids. It took 3 weeks of intensive steroid doses for his platelets to even budge. The doctors and technicians at BluePearl were very worried but stayed aggressive in his treatment. His platelet count finally started getting up to normal after a month.

Things took a turn for the worse on September 4, 2015, when we took him for a short walk and we came home to find that he was afraid to put any weight on his back left leg. It was a Sunday, and we rushed him back to emergency fearing the worst with his disease. Emergency doctors could find no broken bones or reasons for this and scheduled him a followup with internal medicine for the next day. As the day went on, his leg swelled up like a balloon and he was notably uncomfortable. By 2 a.m., he was in so much pain that we couldn’t keep him home anymore. It was extremely traumatizing for all of us, so we rushed him back up to BluePearl, where he was hospitalized overnight.

It wasn’t until about 4 p.m. the next day that they discovered the root of the problem. The skin tissue on that leg was sloughing off; Leo had been bitten by a poisonous spider or snake on our walk on Sunday. It looked like the end for our already extremely ill baby. My husband and I spent all of Monday evening waiting for the call to come see him and say our goodbyes. BluePearl was not having that, though! The doctors wanted to try a plasma transfusion. They really believed in his fight to live and convinced us that he still had a chance, even though all odds pointed to his imminent passing. Tuesday morning, they performed the transfusion, and his platelet count dropped back down to zero.

He had to stay in the ICU until Thursday. When I was able to come up and see him on that day, the technician brought him out to me, walking! It was a true miracle! His platelet count went back up to normal after some monitoring, and he was able to walk on a leg with a bite in it larger than a half dollar. Leo went home with 7 medications, but today he is down to 2! We are currently in the process of weening him to a reasonable steroid dosage for his ITP, and we couldn’t be happier with his progress! Our local vet even told us that he is the kind of dog that veterinarians write papers about.

There is so much that is unknown about his disease, and to see him almost back to his old self with a wound that is healing so nicely is truly a testament to the doctors of BluePearl. These men and women really know what they are doing and are willing to explore new medicine and treatments to save the life of your pet. We are forever indebted to these wonderful people!

Monica Teakle